The Herald Bulletin

June 29, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Overwhelmed shelter needs help

Maleah Stringer
The Herald Bulletin

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The Animal Protection League, a 501(c)(3) has been in partnership with the City of Anderson since April of 2011 to operate the Care portion of Animal Care and Control, also formerly known as the City Pound.

The Anderson Police Department operates Animal Control.

We are an open admission shelter which means we are required by contract to accept all animals brought to us from within the city limits of Anderson, from the Madison County Sheriff''s Department and several other townships, whether we have room or not. We do not have the luxury to say we are full. Massive changes have come in how the facility on Dewey street is operated. We are proud of these changes. We have three prison programs in the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton to help save animals and people. We have added a donated no-kill cat sanctuary to our grounds. The staff and volunteers work diligently to place animals in appropriate permanent homes, in foster homes or rescues.

Staff and volunteers adopt and foster these animals themselves. Our staff and volunteers are going to every event we can staff in order to help save these animals. Because of all these changes and extraordinary efforts our euthanasia rates have decreased every year since 2009.

My personal goal for years has been to make this a low-kill shelter. A low-kill shelter, by definition, euthanizes for extreme illness, extreme age, compassion, aggression or mental issues. Basically the shelter does not euthanize healthy adoptable animals for space. There is no one who wants this more than myself, our staff or volunteers at the Animal Protection League.

In the last two weeks the Animal Protection League has taken in more than 200 animals. We were already overwhelmed with the high numbers of animals we already had. We are full. We have asked for and gotten more cages donated.

Staff and volunteers have been doing everything possible to find places for these wonderful animals to go. Devonshire Veterinary Clinic stepped up and offered us two kennels free of charge whenever we need them. The Correctional Industrial Facility where we have our three prison programs stepped up as well and have offered five additional spots for our dogs and five more spots for our cats in order to help us save these animals. This is a Godsend.

So my question is this? How in the world are we to meet our goal of becoming a low-kill shelter when a segment of this community are not responsible pet owners, do not spay/neuter their animals and let them roam?

We continue to take in these high number of animals. We only have so much space. We have had several days where we have had 25 or more kittens come into our facility. Animal lovers please do not turn your heads because this is too painful. Please do not tell me there is nothing to be done to change this. We can do better. We need people willing to foster and adopt these animals.

We need to stop this overwhelming influx of unwanted animals ... we need to come up with a plan to reduce the number of unwanted animals in our community. Will you help become part of the solution?

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.